Mower County organizations to benefit from United Way campaign

Published 2:39 pm Tuesday, June 29, 2010

United Way of Mower County is looking for area organizations interested in getting fit with the help of healthy living grants.

For the second year, United Way is ready to disperse funds raised during its winter Get Fit campaign, which challenged area residents to take part in a community-wide fitness fundraiser competition. For 14 weeks, 535 individuals took on the challenges of a the Get Fit weight loss competition and the Be Fit exercise and nutrition competition.

Participants earned points through a grading system that awarded specific marks for criteria relating to nutrition, exercise and, when applicable, weight loss.

“It’s the perfect scenario,” said Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, executive director of the United Way of Mower County. “On the one end, we’re motivating individuals to live a healthier life through a fun competition that includes teamwork and accountability. On the other end, the funds are going to activities that usually wouldn’t get support.”

With each competitor donating $10 to the cause — $5 of which was used to generate T-shirts and prizes — the program raised roughly $5,300. Now, United Way is looking for area organizations that are ready to benefit from the winter fun.

Organizations in the county that qualify as a 501c3 and provide services centered around health and fitness are eligible to apply for the grant.

Seven organizations benefited from last year’s campaign. Programs that received funding included a healthy snack program for the after school program at the YMCA, a family bike ride for the ACES Park it Program and a weight and wellness room for Austin Catholic Schools, among others.

“We love to push the money back out into the community,” Lighthizer-Schmidt said.

Applications are available at the United Way of Mower County’s Web site at ww.uwmower.org. Applications can also be requested through the organizations w-mail: unitedmr@smig.net.